Pascal Siakam: From No Name to MVP Dark Horse
Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors has not missed a beat ever since winning last season’s Most Improved Player award. Not only did he win the award, but he also had an outstanding performance in the NBA Finals. With this in mind, the Toronto Raptors were comfortable handing Siakam the metaphorical keys to the metaphorical car following the departure of Kawhi Leonard. So far, the gamble is paying off for the Raptors. Without further adieu, let’s delve into the season Siakam is currently having and take a look at the Cameroonian sensation’s evolution.
Pascal Siakam: His First Years
Siakam entered the league in 2017. Though he was drafted at the 27th pick, he was still a first-round selection, so the potential has always been there from the beginning. During his rookie season, he would play a total of 55 games while starting 38 of them. He would end up finishing the year tallying 4.2 points per game, 0.3 assists per game, and 3.4 rebounds per game.
In his sophomore year, Siakam would see very slight increases in his numbers. He would improve his scoring to 7.3 points per game and also increase his play-making ability as he would finish averaging two assists per game. He would only start five games that year, but he would play a total of 81 games while averaging 20.7 minutes per game. However, this was just the beginning for Siakam as the next year would be the year the world would get to know “Spicy P.”
Spicy P: Most Improved Player to a Dark Horse MVP Candidate
Last season was arguably Siakam’s breakout season. We already know he won the Most Improved Player award, but what goes unnoticed are the numbers and reasons he did win the award. He quickly became one of the main go-to options on the high-powered Raptors squad and looked like the second option behind Kawhi Leonard many times throughout the postseason. That was impressive considering Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol were on the team as well. Not to mention, he did not back down from the challenge in the Finals when he was matched up with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. This would help translate into Toronto’s first title and Siakam would become one of the best feel-good stories in the NBA.
Fast forward to this season and Siakam is a dark horse MVP candidate. So far this season, he is averaging an outstanding 25.1 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 8.6 RPG while being the new leader of the Toronto Raptors. As of November 30, 2019, he has led the Raptors to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 14-4. On top of this, he has also put up some impressive advanced numbers such as a defensive rating of 102, a true shooting percentage of 55.7%, and an assist percentage of 18.1%.
Siakam may not be putting up the 2k like numbers right now like Luka Doncic or James Harden, but he is still silently tearing it up this season. The man who was barely heard of in his rookie season while shooting only 14% from three-point land is now one of the biggest stars in the league and we are fortunate to watch his growth through the years.
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball during the Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena on March 1, 2019, in Toronto, Canada (Toronto Raptors win 119-117) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)